Best 35mm Lenses of 2020 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

We see photography at its best through the absolutely perfect shots on magazine covers and on social media. But there is a lot that goes into capturing that.

From the camera itself to the lens, you must make a careful selection of each tool used for this art form. A 35mm lens is one of the special tools used by photographers that really brings out a different look in their photos.

This article will give you information to help you pick the right 35mm lens for your camera so you, too, can experience such outstanding results.

Comparison of the Best 35mm Lenses

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

  • Best overall
  • Also available with a UV protection filter to give you the best results
  • Features 35mm focal length with a minimum focus distance of 1.0 ft.
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Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T ZE

  • Runner-up
  • Zeiss manual focus standard lens designed for optimal results
  • Features a filter of 58mm allowing better shots outdoors as well as indoors
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Rokinon IO35AF-E

  • Best for the money
  • Construction includes 7 elements in 6 groups
  • Ultra-compact wide-angle lens specifically designed for Sony E-mount full-frame
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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II

  • Best Canon 35mm lens
  • Provides with a diagonal view of 63 degrees for ideal results while taking pictures
  • Designed to provide with a focal length of 35mm with a maximum aperture of f/1.4
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Sony 35mm F2.8 Sonnar

  • Best Sony 35mm lens
  • Also available with a UV protection filter that allows optimal functioning
  • Full frame prime fixed lens designed to provide users with outstanding results
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Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

  • Best Nikon 35mm lens
  • F/1.8G lens designed with autofocus for DSLR cameras
  • Available in five different variables with a 64GB memory card, lens protective pouches, polarizer, UV protection filter, and a lens cleaning cloth set
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Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM

  • Best 35mm lens for Nikon and Canon
  • High-quality DG HSM lens designed by Nikon with their benchmark performance
  • Provides a 35mm focal length and a 52.5mm equivalent when used on an APS-C camera
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Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM

  • Best 35mm prime lens
  • Provides a diagonal view of 63 degrees for enhanced results
  • Wide-angle lens designed to capture wider shots that are highly inclusive
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PENTAX Super TAKUMAR 35mm F/3.5 MF Lens

  • Best Vintage 35mm lens
  • Designed in Japan with the utmost quality of build
  • Focal length of 35mm, featuring an easy-to-use thread mount
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What Does 35mm Lens Mean?

What exactly does the term 35mm lens imply? Is it 35mm in dimension? Well, the answer is, no. A 35mm lens is one that simply provides a focal length of 35mm. To understand this, one must understand the concept of focal length.

A focal length is the distance at which a lens usually focuses. The 35mm focal length is very close to that of the lens in our own eyes. This is why using it on our cameras allows us to capture images that closely mimic the way we see things with our own eyes.

When Would a 35mm Lens Come in Handy?

A 35mm lens is a very useful tool when it comes to photography. These are not one of those items that comes with only very selected uses. In fact, they can be used for a vast amount of tasks. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that it can be used for just about everything.

Candid Street Photography

A 35mm lens gives you the best of all in one. It is designed to allow you to capture the scenic and candid views of the street with all its personality and essence. With it, you can really bring a shot from street photography to life.

Travels

Another ideal use for a 35mm lens would be on all of your travels. With a lens that captures angles which are close to what the human eye sees, you will be able to capture scenarios in front of you just the way you see them with your own eyes, retaining the real beauty of the scene before you.

Group Photos

The 35mm lens is known for providing a wide shot. Such a shot, along with the ideal focus, allows users to get the best group photos. When used for this purpose, the lens provides the greatest benefit of inclusion for all, while maintaining perfect focus on every individual.

What Should I Look for When Buying a 35mm Lens?

A 35mm lens is not the easiest thing to pick. There are a few important factors that need to be considered when choosing between the many available. If you have no prior experience picking one, no need to worry. Here are a few important things to consider before making your final choice.

Manual Focus

Manual focus is ideal when you are shooting portraits or for shots that do not involve a lot of movement. If that is the case in your shooting, then a manual focus lens will not only provide you with the ideal results but also allows you to save some money on an auto-focus lens.

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

Weather Sealing

Some 35mm lenses come with some amount of weather sealing, while others do not. It is true that weather-sealed units cost a little more than standard ones, but they also provide you with a great benefit. While using a weather-sealed lens outdoors, you will never have to worry about the weather damaging your lens, and it’ll also last longer, making it worth the cost.

Bokeh Feature

If you’re looking to capture some bokeh shots, a 35mm lens may not be the best choice for you, since there are other ranges of lenses that provide a better bokeh shot. But if you still want bokeh along with all the other 35mm pros, you should opt for a lower f-stop, since their bokeh potential is considerably better.

Quick Take - Best 35mm Lenses

Before we dive into our review, here are the best 35mm lenses:

  1. Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G
  2. Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T ZE
  3. ​Rokinon IO35AF-E 35mm

Review of the Best 35mm Lenses

Now that we know all the aspects to look at, we can finally get down to looking at some 35mm lenses and choose the one that will fit you best. In order to help you out, here are a few of the best ones we have found, listed and reviewed. All you need to do is find the features you are looking for and pick one.

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G Fixed Focal Length Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Allows a maximum angle of view 44 degrees in DX-format and 63 degrees in FX-format
  • With the aspherical lens element and rear focus, this unit works wonders
  • Comes with FX-format and an ultra-fast classic wide-angle that provide the perfect shots
  • Nanocrystal coat to optimize the lens for edge-to-edge sharpness, on not only FX, but also DX-format
  • Manufacturer also provides four years of extended service coverage without any additional charges

CONS

  • Users may find the motor really loud
  • Considering the price, it is slower than other cheaper units
  • May not be compatible with a number of models and cameras from different brands

What Recent Buyers Report

From the fast autofocus it provides to the efficient and convenient functioning, users have loved every feature this lens has to offer. It not only meets their expectations, but it also tops all the other prime lenses they have used, making it the best buy in their view.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Just like all the other users, we too love almost everything about this lens, but there is one particular feature that stands out to us. And that is its UV protection filter variable. This filter serves as a great addition to this lens, greatly adding to its high-end photo capturing capabilities.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is fast and works efficiently without any hassles. Such a unit is ideal for not only professionals but also beginners who have recently picked up a camera and are trying to learn more. With its impressive autofocus and rock-solid build, it will provide the perfect function for all sorts of photographers.

Bottom Line

The final word on this unit is that it is the absolute best. Given all its features and high-end functionality, we would say it trumps all others with its build and functionality. If you are looking for the best 35mm lens out there for your camera, this unit might be the one for you.

Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T ZE Manual Focus Standard Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras

PROS

  • Features an f-stop range of 2-22 with ½ steps, allowing a greater control 
  • Comes with a 58mm filter that allows better results in all kinds of settings
  • Designed to provide with a minimum focus distance of 11.8 inches or 0.3 m
  • Provides an angle of view of 62, 53, and 37 degrees diagonally, horizontally, and vertically respectively
  • Manual focus lets you decide where to keep your focus, allowing you to capture the shot you had in mind

CONS

  • Considerably more expensive than others of its like
  • Compatibility may be an issue for a number of camera models 
  • Manual focus may slow down the user a bit if they’re used to auto-focus

What Recent Buyers Report

Users find this unit to be absolutely worth the price tag it comes with. It may be expensive, but they think that its sharp and fast functioning, paired with the high-quality glass and build, makes it worth every penny. It not only provides ideal results but also makes the whole photography process more enjoyable.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This 35mm lens sure has a lot to offer and we appreciate all of its features. But what really stands out to us is its 58mm filter. Standard units do come with a filter, but this specific one is ideally designed to not only complement the lens but also to ensure optimal results while capturing shots.

Who Will Use This Most

The features that this lens is equipped with makes it perfect for one and all. The only concern presented is with the manual focus. Since auto-focus users might find it a little hard to comply with this feature, this unit is perhaps best-designed for those who prefer a manual focus.

Bottom Line

All in all, this unit is one that won’t disappoint you. With its sharp functioning and results, it is designed to work wonders with a full-frame body. A little grip on manual focus is all you will need as a photographer to make the best of this 35mm lens and you’ll find that it works better than any other you’ve used before.

Best for the Money:
Rokinon IO35AF-E 35mm

Rokinon IO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 Ultra Compact Wide Angle Lens for Sony E Mount Full Frame, Black

PROS

  • Comes with integrated autofocus, as well as a manual focus override
  • Ultra-compact size allows the convenience of storage as well as handling
  • Features an ideal aperture range of F 2.8-22, making it ideal for all sorts of settings
  • Equipped with a 49mm filter that comes with 7 diaphragm blades, aiding the perfect shot
  • Provides ideal compatibility for Sony E-mount interchangeable lens cameras, as well as with other full-frame bodies

CONS

  • Not as fast and efficient as other 35mm lenses
  • Users may find some degree of chromatic aberrations in high brightness
  • Some users may find the sharpness lacking

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost everyone that invested in this unit found its functioning to be a pleasant surprise. Given the low price tag, users did not expect it to function as smoothly and efficiently as it did. Users also found it comparable to many high-end 35mm lenses.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are a lot of features in this 35mm lens that we really admire, but the one that specifically stands out to us is its compact size. Bigger-sized lenses may look fancier, but this compact lens not only allows easier storage but is also a lot more convenient to handle and work with.

Who Will Use This Most

Accessories for photography do not come cheap. Users often find themselves struggling to find lenses that fit within their budget as well as perform sufficiently. This unit, however, is one of those rare ones that provides users with both affordability and quality. It makes the perfect pick for those looking for a good 35mm lens on a budget.

Bottom Line

Do not let the constraints of your budget keep you from capturing the ideal shot you have been dreaming of. You do not have to spend a fortune on a 35mm lens for the results that you want. This one is designed to give you all the features that you want, without being heavy on your pocket.

Best Canon 35mm Lens:
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens, Lens Only

PROS

  • Construction involves 14 elements, arranged in 11 different groups
  • Features an integrated autofocus system, as well as a time manual focus
  • Can also be purchased with a polarizer or a UV filter for even better results
  • Comes with a subwavelength coating that greatly reduces problems such as lens ghosting and flare
  • Allows the closest focusing distance of 0.92 ft. or 0.28m, as well as an increased maximum magnification

CONS

  • Users might find the focus a little tricky to deal with
  • Considerably more expensive compared to other standard units
  • Performance may not be as outstanding on cameras from other brands

What Recent Buyers Report

For those photographers who have found Canon their go-to brand in terms of cameras and accessories, this unit is the absolute best. They consider it a lens which provides them with all the features they need to take the perfect shots they have been dreaming of.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Just like other users, we too have been enticed by the wide range of features this unit has to offer, but what particularly caught our attention was the increased maximum magnification that it offers. It allows users to expand their range of expression, which comes in handy while capturing close-up shots.

Who Will Use This Most

This 35mm lens is no less than a dream come true for all Canon users. Given the fact that it is specifically designed for Canon, its best results can only be seen when working on a Canon camera. This makes it ideal for all Canon users, allowing them to experience the best of it.

Bottom Line

If you own a Canon camera and are looking for a 35mm lens to complement it, there is no other unit better than this for you. It will provide you with all the features you need, and using this will allow you an entirely different experience altogether while you capture all the shots you aspire to.

Best Sony 35mm Lens:
Sony 35mm F/2.8 Sonnar

Sony 35mm F2.8 Sonnar T FE ZA Full Frame Prime Fixed Lens

PROS

  • Allows a minimum focus distance of 1.15 ft. or 1.35m to allow for better portraits 
  • Designed in a way to ensure dust and moisture resistance for a longer period 
  • Maximum magnification ratio of 0.12x enables users to capture the ultimate close-up pictures
  • Equipped with an outstanding bright maximum aperture of F/2.8 that provides just the right angle
  • Compact size features an impressive optical functioning with the 35mm focal length and a minimum aperture of F/22

CONS

  • Not capable of zooming 
  • Outer hood does not fit on the lens with the filter attached
  • Does not feature image stabilization like other units of its kind

What Recent Buyers Report

Users find that this unit has a lot to offer and they seem to love every single bit of it. From its compact size to its sharpness and focus, they find everything to be right on point. Those who invested in it consider it a great choice and advise others to get this lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Of all the features that make this camera worthy of being on our list, our absolute favorite is the dust and moisture protection it comes with. These two factors are the most frequent causes of harm to a lens and its functionality. Providing the lens sufficient protection greatly enhances its durability

Who Will Use This Most

Since the product is designed by Sony, it is best compatible with their brand. Users who have a Sony camera would find it to be the perfect aid for taking pictures of almost all sorts. For this reason, we think this is the best Sony 35mm lens out there.

Bottom Line

No other Sony lens functions better than this one. It provides the ideal functionality, as well as features that make photography even better for any user. Invest in it if you are a Sony user and we assure you that you will not be disappointed at all.

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Provides users with an aperture range of F/1.8-22 for outstanding images
  • Features a Silent Wave Motor autofocus system with a screw-on filter type
  • Designed to be compatible with DX-format as well as FX and DX in crop mode
  • Also comes with a four-year extended service coverage from the manufacturer
  • Has rear focusing, as well as a manual focus override that allows greater control

CONS

  • Lacks any hard stops while using the manual focus 
  • Users might notice a bit of barrel distortion while using it
  • Bokeh feature doesn’t work as ideally as it does on other types of lenses

What Recent Buyers Report

According to those who have recently invested in this unit and tried it for themselves, this is absolutely worth investing in. Users claim that it not only saved them from spending on more expensive units but also provided them with all the features of high-end products.

Why it Stands Out to Us

While picking this unit, we found plenty of reasons to put it on this list, but what really stood out to us was the different variables available with different accessories. Not a lot of units offer that kind of choice for users and those that do are only between one or two accessories, unlike the five that this unit offers.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is specifically designed for all Nikon users out there. It provides them with the perfect photos and optimal performance. For this reason, we find this unit to be best for those that prefer using a Nikon DSLR, given that it provides perfect compatibility with the lens.

Bottom Line

All in all, this lens by Nikon will prove to be an investment you will not regret under any circumstances. It will provide you with not only the ideal features and functionality but also with extended service coverage for four years, and that too, without any additional charges.

Best 35mm Lens for Nikon and Canon:
Sigma 35mm F/1.4 Art DG HSM

Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Nikon

PROS

  • Available in a number of different mounts for ideal compatibility
  • Has 67mm filters and a minimum focus range of 11.81 inches or 0.3m
  • Designed to provide a maximum aperture of F/1.4 and a minimum of F/16
  • Highly compatible with a number of other cameras, even APS-C, DX and FX cameras
  • Features a ring-type ultrasonic autofocus motor along with a full-time manual focusing feature

CONS

  • Users might find the focus a little tricky to manipulate
  • No sufficient customer support provided by the manufacturer
  • Focus ring lacks any strong stop at either end and keeps turning

What Recent Buyers Report

Users that have invested in this unit have really found it to be an outstanding lens. They have not only been satisfied with its performance but have also noticed a great improvement in their photos just by using it. If they had only one lens to use, users say it would be this one.

Why it Stands Out to Us

From the long list of features this unit offers, there is one that particularly stands apart from the rest. And that is its wide range of compatibility. Most lenses with high functionality are specific to certain brands, and can’t be used with others. But this unit can be used with a wide range of brands.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit is one that posts no restrictions on brands for the users. It comes with different mounts, allowing users to pick one that is compatible with their camera. For this reason, we find it ideal for professionals who own more than one camera and are looking for a unit that would fit on all of them.

Bottom Line 

If you, too, are tired of restricted use of your other lenses, then perhaps this one is right up your alley. This unit will not only fit on all of your DSLRs but will also provide equal functionality on all of them. And its functionality is what makes it ultimately worth its price tag.

Best 35mm Prime Lens:
Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Wide-Angle Lens

PROS

  • Provides the closest focusing distance of 0.24m or 0.79 ft.
  • Construction consists of 10 elements that are divided into 8 groups
  • Features a rear focus option that comes with a USM focus adjustment
  • Equivalent focal length on an APS-C camera is 1.6x which equals 56mm
  • Offers users a focal length of 35mm along with a maximum aperture of 1.2

CONS

  • The build is not very solid and durable
  • Lacks the high-end features of other 35mm lenses
  • Does not come with a proper hood or any sort of accessories

What Recent Buyers Report

Users that have recently invested in this unit are greatly satisfied with their choice. They have remarked on its ideal functioning and the sharpness of the images taken with it. It not only provided them with good functioning but also satisfied them in terms of convenience.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are a number of features users have loved in this unit, but what we find to be above all is the USM focus adjustment. It is not something commonly found in lenses these days, but in this unit, it works impressively to increase the quality of the photos taken with it.

Who Will Use This Most

This wide-angle lens is good for a number of functions. Not only does it perform well, but it is also convenient to use and easy to store. Given these features, we find this unit ideal for all those users that have only recently taken an interest in photography, as it would allow them to make the best of it without much prior experience.

Bottom Line

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a professional, if you are looking for a prime 35mm lens for your camera, you will find this checks all the basic requirements for your ideal lens. That makes it a unit designed to satisfy its users, in all aspects.

PENTAX Super TAKUMAR 35mm F/3.5 MF Lens (M42 / thread mount)

PROS

  • Images taken with it feature minimum distortion
  • Thread mount feature makes it easy to install and use
  • Designed to work ideally for all the mirrorless uses out there
  • Provides users with crisp and sharp images without any aberrations
  • Compatible with a number of cameras, so users do not have to worry before buying

CONS

  • Lacks certain features offered by other high-end 35mm lenses
  • Results obtained might be underexposed regardless of the setting used
  • Using it may require some prior experience and may prove tricky for beginners

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit has been used by a number of photographers recently and they all sing its praises. It has proved to be an impressive accessory for a number of users, earning itself a great reputation. It is not only an ideal lens in their opinion but also one that saves a great amount of money.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Of all the features this unit has to offer, what we really like is the simple thread mount it offers. Since its functioning is tricky and may take the user a while to get used to, its installing and mounting are considerably easier, saving them time on figuring out how to use it.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit comes as a variation of the standard 35mm lens. It is one that needs to be used with great care and precision. That makes it suitable for use by professionals. So users who have considerable experience would find it would make the best out of this 35mm lens. 

Bottom Line

A vintage lens may function slightly differently from the ones we use now, but it is definitely worth investing in, given the results it provides. Its high functionality and efficiency have earned it a place on this list, making it one of the best units you can invest in.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Now that you have had a look at all aspects of these lenses, you may finally feel like you know which one to pick. But before you do, there are still some considerations you need to take into account before you make your final decision. Here are a few aspects to keep in mind while you pick one for yourself:

Do You Need A 35mm Lens?

Before you go ahead and invest in a 35mm lens, stop for a second and ask yourself if you really need one. Are the types of photographs you take compatible with the 35mm lens? While it may be great for group shots and street photography, it may not be suitable for every sort of photography. Therefore, before investing, you need to make a keen consideration if this is the product you want to invest in.

Budget

While it is true that 35mm lenses are more expensive than a number of other lenses, there are a few that are more expensive within the category. Therefore, one needs to evaluate the lens carefully and consider all of its features before deciding if it is worth the money.

Quality of Build

As discussed above, a 35mm lens does not come cheap. So if you decide to invest in one, you need to ensure that the unit that you choose comes with an excellent build quality. If you invest in such a costly lens, it should provide you with the quality and durability that would allow it to work as good as new for a considerable amount of time.

Conclusion

35mm lenses in photography might be considered a professional accessory. That, along with its heavy price tag, makes it a tough choice to make. But once you decide you want one, there are a few considerations that need to be focused on before making the final decision. And just like that, you’ll find yourself enjoying a whole other photography experience.

People Also Ask

Buying a 35mm is not enough to work wonders for a photographer. It is essential that the user has complete functional knowledge in order to obtain the best results from it. For those who still have a few questions regarding a 35mm lens, here are some questions frequently asked by other users:

Is a 35mm Lens Good for Group Shots?

A 35mm lens is designed to allow a great focal length, all the while ensuring wider coverage. Such a wide field capture, coupled with the ideal focus, makes it absolutely perfect for a group shot, where everyone is included, regardless of how big the group is.

Why are 35mm Lenses so Expensive?

One may find these lenses to be comparatively more expensive than a range of other lenses, but there is a good reason for that. These are more expensive, mainly due to the complexities of their structure. They need an accessory flange to sensor distance, as well as a mirror box. These two additions make it more expensive than other lens types.

Is a 35mm DX Lens Actually 35mm?

Despite its name, a 35mm DX is not actually 35mm. Due to its smaller sensor design, a DX lens is actually smaller than the standard 35mm lens. So, when results from a DX lens are compared to that of a standard 35mm, the image may seem slightly more magnified.

What is the 35mm Equivalent in Digital?

If you are looking for a 35mm equivalent for use on a digital camera, all you need to do is to multiply the focal length by 1.5. So if you are looking for a 35mm equivalent for a 50mm lens, when used in a digital camera, the equivalent would be 75mm.

What is a 35mm Lens on a Crop Sensor?

When using a 35mm lens on a crop sensor, the results you obtain will not be those equal to a standard 35mm lens. The variation in focal length depends on the crop factor of the sensor being used. The equivalent focal length can be obtained by simply multiplying the crop factor by 35.